The Aspiring Jersey Island Geopark (AJIG) project has created a dynamic plan of action to demonstrate how it will harness the growing support behind its work and move towards securing the prestigious Geopark status for the Island.
The ‘AJIG Prospectus’, published today (3rd), sets out 19 points of action, which range from working with different areas of the community, such as schools and the parishes, to the development of a geotourism offering for Jersey. Other actions include the creation of a new Scientific Committee to serve as a link between the Aspiring Geopark and academia; new signage at sites of geological interest; and increased access to these sites, where possible, whether physical or digital.
The Prospectus explains how these actions will propel the project forward and how they support the high level, strategic Island Outcomes that help to shape the Government of Jersey’s work, as well as the draft Heritage Strategy recently created by the Government for the future of the heritage sector. It also shows how the project’s actions can make a contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (a core priority for UNESCO).
Millie Butel, Jersey Heritage’s Landscape Engagement & Geopark Development Curator, explained that the action points contained in the report would bridge the gap between what the AJIG project has already achieved after being officially launched earlier this year and its ultimate goal – an application to UNESCO for Geopark status.
She said: “The pandemic has really highlighted how important our natural and cultural heritage is to us all, not only for our wellbeing, but how our heritage offers future prospects for tourism development for the Island as a whole. The Prospectus sets out what these opportunities could look like within the Aspiring Geopark project in terms of conservation, community engagement, economic development and identity, and what we need to do in order to take advantage of them.
“There is a lot of work to be done before the Island can be considered by UNESCO for Geopark status but momentum is gathering behind the project and we are excited to get more people on board to continue sharing what being a Geopark could mean for Jersey.”
The AJIG project is a collaborative one and the stakeholder organisations already involved include Société Jersiaise, Jersey National Park, Young Archaeologists’ Club, Jersey Biodiversity Centre, the Blue Marine Foundation, Ramsar Management Authority, Visit Jersey, Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies, Government of Jersey and Jersey Heritage. One of the action points in the prospectus is to encourage more organisations to join the project and lend their support.
In addition to the action points, the Prospectus explains what a Geopark is, the benefit of being one to the Island, and how Jersey’s exceptional landscapes and seascapes are the inspiration behind the AJIG project.
Jerry Neil, Jersey National Park Officer, said: “The aspirations for a Geopark for Jersey align with and complement the conservation and environmental understanding key principles of the Jersey National Park. The AJIG Prospectus provides the background and context to how geodiversity continues to shape and determine human prosperity and land use, and the biodiversity of the natural environment. We look forward to working with the other project partners on the actions set out in the Prospectus.”
Appin Williamson, Blue Marine Foundation’s Project Manager for Jersey, said: “Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) is delighted that Samantha Blampied, a PhD student with BLUE, is a Geopark Gardien. The opportunity available to Jersey through designation of a Geopark is hugely exciting and highlights the importance of our incredible surroundings and the history behind them.”
The full Prospectus is available to view online at www.jerseyheritage.org/explore/geopark/.
Anyone wanting to know more about the project can also visit the AJIG Visitor Centre at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery, which is open daily. The Visitor Centre is kindly sponsored by Saltgate and entry is free.